LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. --- The Braves brought 70 players to spring training, including 39 pitchers. There are so many players in Camp Everybody Has A Chance that when the entire roster of players stood in a straight line for the spring opener the other day, they stretched from home plate, past first base to halfway into the outfield.
"There's opportunities here," manager Fredi Gonzalez said, smiling.
So how much are you willing to pay to watch so many "Braves of the future" attempt to seize their opportunity? It's a given that the team will not be good this season: sportsbooks' projections range from 65 to 66½ games (or 97 to 95½ losses) and the team is expected to have the majors' fourth-lowest payroll. So how good will spring training baseball be?
Well, the price gougers at Disney have put a price on the product. And it's absurd. The Braves are quick to point this is not their call, but admission for Thursday's spring training game against Detroit at Disney's Wide World of Sports started -- started -- at $20. That was just to sit on the berm behind the left field wall, to the right of the foul pole. Ticket prices went up from there: $25 for general admission on the lawn down the left field line, $34 for an actual seat in the upper level or down the right field line and $49 for lower level reserve.
I believe there's a 10 percent discount for those donating a major organ.
The cost would be outrageous even if the Braves weren't projected to finish with the second-worst record in the majors. (For what it's worth, Braves' regular-season tickets start at $7 to $11.)
The stadium was about half full Thursday. (Attendance was announced as 5,618 in a stadium with a listed capacity of 9,500.)
Also, here's a sampling of concession prices at the stadium: $12.50 for an Angus beef burger basket, $11.75 for a grilled chicken basket, $8.50 for a hot dog basket, $4.50 for popcorn, $3.50 for sunflower seeds, $3.50 for a potato chips, $11 for domestic beer and $13 for craft beer.
The Braves' spring training contract with Disney is up after the 2017 season. But their inability to find a new training home could prompt them to extend the deal for an extra year or two.
So if you're planning to attend a spring training game, start saving.
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